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What More Can I Write?

Barrington H. Brennen, June 12, 2013

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It has been more than sixteen years since I began writing for this newspaper.  One of the subjects I have written a lot about is crime.  I have repeatedly made suggestions about why the crime is increasing and some of the things we can do to reduce it.  As I listen to the news each day the crime still litters the landscape of our national heritage.   I have asked many times: “Can we stop the crime?” and “Do we want to stop the crime?”  I have answered these questions over and over and perhaps have become frustrated having seen little or no results.  I am wondering if I am showing symptoms of writer’s fatigue.  Am I saying the same thing over and over just in different ways?  Am I losing hope that the lines in this column can truly impact lives?  Perhaps it is stupid of me to think that the suggestions in the column over the years would have impacted national policy or change the thinking of potential criminals.


The bright side is that countless of individuals have personally indicated to me how these articles have impacted their marriage or personal life.  Several couples told me over the years that I have “saved their marriage.”   Why am I not getting the same results concerning crime?  Perhaps I answered this question almost fifteen years ago in a poem I wrote entitled “Why Stop the Crime?  Here are a few lines from the poem: 


“What profits would we gain by stopping the crime when we have gained 

         so much from it all the time?

Why think of pain, loneliness, and fear?

Why think of the tragedy our children bear?

Why think of life loss if life isn’t much?

Why think of dysfunctional families if family isn’t much?


Could it be that we were poisoned through generation in time

By the greed and lust of power hungry minds?

What is the antidote to the poison of passivity and greed?

It must be a mental metamorphosis to take the lead.


If we continue to be poisoned by the greed for power,

Our nation will die and we would not even realize it’s a goner;

Because a crime isn’t a crime to the unchanged mind,

Unless there is a re-creation of our lives and minds.

Then, and only then, will we find the power to stop the crime.”


Read entire poem



Although the above lines speak to why it is difficult to reduce crime, I have always believed that we can if we really wanted to.  However, I have recently been reminded about something that happens to people who are overly exposed to something.  Crime has become so prevalent or common place, we no longer think it is a problem.  Or we have become conditioned to accept the crime as “normal” and have been frozen in a state of “do-nothingness.” 


This reminds me of an ugly creature that can withstand the deadly liquid acid.  It is the African naked mole rat. This ugly creature is the longest living rodent—up to 28 years old.


Moreover, none have ever been observed to get cancer. It is the only known vertebrate that is not bothered by acid.  Yes, the deadly liquid does not affect the naked mole rat.  According to an article in the magazine “Science,” it explains the molecular basis underlying this acid insensitivity, and suggests that it might be an adaptation to their oxygen-poor living conditions.


British researchers of the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) Berlin, have found out why the African naked mole-rat (Heterocephalus glaber), one of the world's most unusual mammals, feels no pain when exposed to acid. “African naked mole-rats live densely packed in narrow dark burrows where ambient carbon dioxide (CO2) levels are very high. In body tissues, CO2 is converted into acid, which continuously activates pain sensors. However, naked mole-rats are an exception: they have an altered ion channel in their pain receptors that is inactivated by acid and makes the animals insensitive to this type of pain.”



What immediately came to my mind when I read the article was how we as a nation have become conditioned to tolerate the “acid crime” and other evils in our society?  Violence of all kinds, rape, murder, are far too rampant.  Far too many people are breaking the traffic laws and it’s okay.  Many think that jumping stop lights and overtaking at intersections is skillful and creative but not criminal or evil.    It is as though we have become tolerant of crime.



What then should I do?  Should I continue to write on the subject of crime?  Is it is realistic to believe that a tiny article in this giant newspaper can make a difference in a society conditioned to the acid of crime.   Is it realistic to believe that these articles can impact national policy, the judicial system, or even the minds of individuals thinking about doing evil?    Dear reader, I will still write.  I will continue to write, even when words escape me and writer’s fatigue threatens me.  I will continue to write.  Using the words of the current president of the United States of American, Barak Obama, I will have the “audacity of hope.”   I will write because in spite of the pain and stupidity in our society, some where, some time, the sun will shine again.  It will shine again because I have the audacity to believe that although there is a dark cloud of crime that the sun is still shining in the hearts of some people out there.  These are the people who can and will make a difference.  I believe in them.  If these articles of mine only inspire those special people to keep on keeping on so that change will take place in our lovely country, that alone will satisfy me.  I will continue to write.







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